Home / Analysis / Charles P. Corliss’ 1885 Patent Winding and Setting Mechanism – Inspecting an 18-Size Elgin “Convertible” Grade 100

Charles P. Corliss’ 1885 Patent Winding and Setting Mechanism – Inspecting an 18-Size Elgin “Convertible” Grade 100

Yesterday, we took a look at the snap-ring dial Charles P. Corliss patented in 1879 in an attempt to create an “interchangeable” watch while working at the Elgin National Watch Company. This development was made while the company was also introducing a new interchangeable movement, frequently referred to by collectors as the “convertible” model. A few years later, when Elgin decided to create a new 18-Size pendant-set model derived from the established 16-Size convertible design, they turned to Corliss for the setting mechanism. This stem winding/setting mechanism represents the first of four distinct designs patented by Corliss during his nearly-three-decades as model maker at the Elgin factory. The interchangeable movement design also required additional ingenuity since a specialized wheel must rise and fall in order to engage the center spur wheel to set the hands.


Dial Plate on Elgin Grade 100 – 18-Size, Model 6, 15 Jewels, c.1887, Serial No. 2227126
Image Courtesy of Rick Hufnagel

U.S. Patent #325506, Stem Winding and Setting Watch, Issued to Charles P. Corliss September 1, 1885

Exploded Diagram of the 1885 Corliss Winding and Setting Mechanism
U.S. Patent #325506, Stem Winding and Setting Watch, Issued to Charles P. Corliss September 1, 1885

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